Monday, March 20, 2017

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam


Is a writer living in Melbourne. He was born and raised by lifelong New Yorkers in Manhattan.
He wrote his first story about a hamster whose family was starving. A lilac bush in bloom saved everyone.
Steven Amsterdam has edited travel guides, designed book jackets, is a psychiatric nurse. Is a palliative care nurse.
'The Easy Way Out is a poignant, sharply funny story that raises questions about life, death, and love, with plenty of heart and dark humour' Louise O'Neill

Evan's job is to help people die. 

Evan is a nurse - a suicide assistant. His job is legal - just. He's the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.
Evan's friends don't know what he does during the day. His mother, Viv, doesn't know what he's up to at night. And his supervisor suspects there may be trouble ahead.
As he helps one patient after another die, Evan pushes against the limits of the law - and his own morality. And with Viv increasingly unwell, his love life complicated, to say the least, Evan begins to wonder who might be there for him, when the time comes.
From an award-winning author, The Easy Way Out is a brilliantly funny and exquisitely sad novel that gets to the heart of one of the most difficult questions each of us may face: would you help someone die?
This was one of the easiest reviews to write for many reasons, but mainly because the novel impresses the reader with ease. From the very first sentence you are hooked and can't wait to get to the end to see how it evolved. Steven Amsterdam is not only a good writer, he’s a Melbourne palliative care nurse, which gives Evan’s voice an authenticity others might not manage. 
Hospital deathbed scenes are meticulously recorded, reports are written and reviewed, assistants are evaluated. The administrative nightmare is such that it would be a brave assistant indeed who tried to speed somebody through the process.
It is a remarkable read in which Amsterdam touches on legal and inheritance issues of the patients who want to opt out, but this really is about Evan and Vivian and how some people decide to stay or go.  A very sensitive topic today, and everyday for that matter. It is a story about the human choice and the freedom to have it... or not. I am not sure whether if any member of my family and friends wants to die I would necessarily be ok with it, but I know that as far as human rights are concerned we have to be allowed to choose whether to fight or not at our own terms.
This is a hard subject for anyone to discuss but must have been more difficult to write about. It is a heart-wrenching, touching,informative and sometimes funny roller coaster ride which is very well written.
he main characters are well-developed and interesting, contemporary themes are explored in-depth, many perspectives are shared; this book has a lot to offer.
Steven Amsterdam has managed to pen a story that is touching, funny, informative, raunchy (in one scene), heart-wrenching and definitely makes you question your own views around the subject. It is up to you to decide whether you can handle the subject yourself. It was a tough one for me. I cried a lot while reading, and my frustration was obvious even to the people observing my while I was reading, BUT  I definitely recommend it for reading. It is profound, genuine and most of all real and important read.